The Natural History Museum off Merrion Square was another place I have been meaning to visit for two years. You know how it is. Tiernan always said we’d go and we just ended up going to other places, but Jack and I finally went on Tuesday!
It was really hard to choose the photos for this post. On an average outing I will take over a hundred photos at each place – because that’s what I like to do. It’s how I experience a place. Trying to visualise it from different angles, focus on particular details. I know a lot of people don’t like to take photos because they don’t want to detract from the experience but, for me, photography enhances it. It does mean a lot of work sorting, editing and choosing which ones to upload once I get home. End rant.
First things first. You enter the Dead Zoo and are met with this! Da na na na na na na na Bat-Deer! These Giant Irish Deer are well over 10,000 years old. Which is just mad! I don’t know if anyone has ever wondered what I initially trained in, but I studied Archaeology (specialising in Egyptology!) at university. Unfortunately that career path rarely turns out like Indiana Jones, so I had to get a normal job to make ends meet. Would still like to get back into stratigraphy and that sort of thing one day. So I found the Giant Deer particularly cool.
This place is very, VERY interesting. I have never seen this many stuffed (literally) animals in my life. There are taxidermy birds at the War Memorial Museum back in Auckland, but it’s not very vogue to look at taxidermy anymore. In New Zealand, anyway. And that’s just my opinion, by the way, no facts to back it up at all.
But this little museum is absolutely bursting at the seems. Look at this stack of ducks, for goodness-sake!
When we arrived the Summer Inspectorium was just finishing up. It was a hands on session with some of the museum’s collection. Like wolf fur with the head still attached. I know some vegetarians who would really hate this place.
The museum still has a late 1800s exhibition feel. This what I imagine it would have been like to be part of one of those Victorian societies. Like the Royal Entomology Society. I have a friend who actually is an entomologist. She’s a very cool and interesting person. In actual fact, the museum was original established in 1856 for the collection of the Royal Dublin Society.
This is also the closest I’ve been to a real puffin!
On the ground floor there are some really nice displays of animals in their habitats – like the foxes above – but the really cool stuff is upstairs. It was very deceptive, this museum. Initially it looks like one small ground floor. When you get to the back there is a tiny sign saying “Exhibition Continues.” Go through the door and you’re met with a sweeping staircase leading you up towards even more stuffed animals.
What’s through the door?
I think “Oh my God” were the first words I said when we got up here. Look at all of these animals in cases! They had almost everything I could think of, Proboscis Monkeys, Lions, Tigers, Bears (you get the idea). A human skeleton. More decapitated deer and Springbok and horned things than I could count.
I felt like the museum was also a sort of commentary on how people have treated animals historically (and on-going 😦 ): the Indian Elephant even had a note stating who shot it, the Rhino has no horn to prevent it being stolen. While we were there one of the guides was saying that they are making a prosthetic replacement. I wonder if they are going to do the same for the elephants (they may have already done this, I didn’t check).
Some of the skeletons and animals seem to have been donated to the collection by various people over the years. Imagine having this in your living room!
A museum full of dead things does require a certain amount of joking around.
Like Ueno Zoo, I was mainly interested in seeing as many animals I’d never seen before as possible. So the Moose was really cool. And the Beaver. I like how they made him hold a little stick. He’s still building in the after life, I know it!
Cost: FREE! Yay :3
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 2pm – 5pm
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday
Website: Natural History Museum